Barcelona have reached an agreement with Ligue 1 club Olympique Lyon for one of their promising young defenders, who is expected to join the Catlan club after Euro 2016.
Barca have been linked with a number of young defenders this summer, as they prepare for the departures of two of their defensive stalwarts over the past decade. While Dani Alves has already made the move to Serie A giants Juventus, Argentine midfielder turned center-back Javier Mascherano is widely expected to join him in Turin.
This has left a gaping hole at the back, that Barcelona need to address if they want to hold on to the La Liga crown and challenge for the Champions League next season. They have been linked with a number of defenders this transfer window, including PSG’s Brazilian center-back Marquinhos.
However, after being kept at bay by the Parisian club, Barca have now raided one of their Ligue 1 rivals. Olympique Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has confirmed that a fee of €30m (£24.6m) has been agreed between the two clubs for 22 year old Frenchman Samuel Umtiti.
“We anticipate the eventual departure of Umtiti. Samuel has an exclusive agreement for him to join Barcelona,” he told French channel RMC Sport. [via: The Guardian]
“We made a promise that if he could play for the club of his heart, he would leave. It’s part of the commitment which we have made, as was done for Karim Benzema when he went to Real Madrid. Right now, Samuel is with Les Bleus and is focused on the Euros and the fact that he can play Sunday against Iceland. If the three parties agree, it is possible that he will leave us.”
Barcelona are in dire need of a young, talented defender, and the 22 year old center-back Umtiti is considered to be a player who can grow to be a lynchpin of the Barca defence. He already has top level experience, having played in 37 games for Lyon in all competitions this past season.
Umtiti likes to dribble and can hold the ball well, boasting of good passing ability that could see him develop into an excellent ball playing defender. This is a skillset well suited for Barcelona’s playing style. He is currently in France with the French national squad for Euro 2016, and the deal is expected to be officially announced once the tournament is over.